Counterweight

Paranormal agent James Takata of the Talamasca saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand, walking through the streets of Soho in the rain. As was his fashion Takata observed undetected, blending in perfectly with his surroundings and the occasional passing stranger. From a following distance of perhaps fifty feet Takata sent forth his third eye, feeling a slight tug as the non-corporeal structure detached from his forehead and floated invisibly forward to further discern the intentions of the werewolf.

Little stood out about the werewolf in his non-transformed state that would announce his true nature to the world. He was not a well-groomed individual and was larger and hairier than most, but otherwise would not have stood out at a sporting event. It was his behavior that rendered the werewolf objectionable, especially indiscretions such as the mutilation of little old ladies late at night. Such events tended to render the English populace uneasy, and demanded that prompt action be taken. It was foolish in the extreme for the werewolf to take prey so close to the Talamasca's motherhouse in London. Takata had taken the assignment, together with a warning from his superior. "Better stay away from him," warned the supervisor. "He'll rip your lungs out, Jim!" Takata had nodded in acknowlegement and taken immediately to the trail, quickly picking up the scent of his quarry with heightened olfactory senses.

The eye hovered invisibly near the werewolf, maintaining pace with his as he walked. Takata observed through the eye's vantage point the menu that the werewolf was carrying; he was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fooks, where a reading of the beast's mind suggested that he intended to procure a big dish of beef chow mein. Takata was sympathetic to such tastes himself; had the werewolf not savaged the humans, he might have even enjoyed being a dinner companion. Aversive as he was to taking an offender in a public place, Takata knew that sometimes there was no other way. He called the eye back to him, pausing as the organ reseated itself between and slightly above his eyebrows. When a few minutes had passed, Takata meditated to center himself, steeled his resolve, and then followed the werewolf into the small establishment, knowing it likely that only one of them would leave it.

The beast was already well into his plate of beef chow mein, eating ravenously. Had he restricted his diet to Chinese cuisine, this confrontation would not have been necessary. "Excuse me, Sir," said Takata to the werewolf. "Didn't you attend Warren G. Harding High School?" Takata took advantage of the distraction to ease himself into the seat opposite the creature.

"I don't know what you're talking about about!," responded the beast roughly, shreds of chow mein hanging from one corner of his mouth. "Now get out of here!-I don't know you!-I don't like you!," he added, spitting the words out for emphasis.

"Perhaps then you might have heard something about the little old lady who was mutilated late last night?," pressed Takata. The beast's eyes glowed with sudden recognition of the fact that he had been stalked and cornered. Transforming rapidly into a snarling humanoid wolf, he raked out at Takata's face with a murderous, savagely-clawed hand.

Takata, however, was already moving, executing an impossible vertical leap into the air. The flash of his katana blade was barely perceptible to human eyes as he descended, slashing in a murderous arc across the werewolf's neck and severing the head neatly. The head thunked on the table, its eyes still open and filled with a mixture of ferocity and surprise as the massive body slumped forward, the neck stump spurting blood as the still-beating heart gradually became aware that its owner had died. It was only then that Takata flicked blood from his blade, and in a smooth, stylized gesture neatly returned the katana to its scabbard.

Patrons of the restaurant were by then screaming and running out of the establishment, but Takata took a moment to pick up the werewolf's cup of untouched tea and savor a swallow of the rich golden nectar, warming his paws on the cup and feeling the warmth of the brew fill him within. Takata gazed into the cup, pausing to reflect as he did so upon the motto of the Talamasca; "We watch...And we are always there."

His vulpine tail swayed elegantly from side to side as Takata padded quietly out of the now vacant restaurant and soon blended imperceptibly into his surroundings...